It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.

 

Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.

 

Absolute Morality: Does it exist?

page: 6
17
<< 3  4  5    7  8  9 >>

log in

join
share:

posted on Sep, 10 2010 @ 09:14 AM
link   
reply to post by Gorman91
 


Look at mankind without any rights. Having rights is clearly a positive.

From whose point of view? Everybody's? Why are Sri Lankans then so seemingly eager to give them up to a power-hungry executive?


Besides. Because we're human. No other reason is needed. Because animals want to be free.

'Because we're human' is not an answer unless you explain why.

And animals are not free. Neither wild ones nor tame. The concept of animal rights is of very recent and limited provenance. A couple of generations ago even people in the West would have been baffled by the very idea.

Anyway--not to trouble you further--I was just pointing out the difficulty of deriving the argument of natural, inalienable rights from logical first principles. Nonlogical factors like empathy and compassion have to play a part.




posted on Sep, 10 2010 @ 09:27 AM
link   
reply to post by Astyanax
 


Excellent points, thanks for writing that up. I'm not particularly interested (at the moment) of determining the source of the absolutes that we hold, as I don't think that it matters all that much for the discussion. I agree with you that ethics seem to be more absolute, which goes back to that sense of right versus wrong that seems to be inherent, rather than something that we managed to "pick up" through education, reasoning or persuasion (that "underlying thing" that I referenced.)

Some of the frustration that people hold seems to be related, again, to the societal norms that are in flux, and appear to often be driven by a vocal minority, and whether they find these acceptable or not. Going back to homosexual rights, I would be hard pressed to say that I ever thought treating homosexuals equally was "wrong", but until the issue came to the fore, I never gave it a lot of thought, and once I did, I had plenty of reasons for my vacillating positions. I have managed to settle (for the time) on a view which is largely in harmony with the direction that things seem to be heading, but I'm not certain that this position is a reconciliation with my underlying belief that equal rights are correct, or if it's merely an acknowledgement that arguments against it are ineffective.

In other words, have I been morally adjusted by society, or have I just grown as a person in accepting that my underlying belief is best served by my current position?


Infanticide is a common human behaviour. It was prevalent in all ancient cultures, even the most civilized.


Yes, when I brought that up, I did give some thought to the practice in China of killing baby girls because you can only have one kid, and everyone wants a son (I don't know if that's still happening, or to what extent it ever did, but it did come to mind,) as well as the instances in the Western world of abandoning infants in dumpsters or around churches and hospitals.

A couple of things about that, though -- first, I'll be the first to admit that I'm a bit myopic in my view of other cultures, being largely limited to Canadian and American, so I don't know what, if any, societal remorse the Chinese might feel about those behaviours. Secondly, at least around here, child abandonment (and killing,) are ultimately selfish actions of isolated individuals, and are universally decried and mourned by the rest of society, so we, at least, view these actions as indefensible, based on that underlying "right and wrong."



posted on Sep, 10 2010 @ 10:10 AM
link   

Originally posted by SarK0Y
reply to post by 547000
 




When they say X approaches infinite, they mean X increases without bound.

yes, but it doesn't change situation: for example, x approaches 1 (each value of x



posted on Sep, 10 2010 @ 10:31 AM
link   

I agree with you that ethics seem to be more absolute, which goes back to that sense of right versus wrong that seems to be inherent, rather than something that we managed to "pick up" through education, reasoning or persuasion (that "underlying thing" that I referenced.)

I think we have innate drives towards certain behaviour we regard as moral, such as looking after children, being nice to people who are nice to you and so on. I don't think this amounts to an innate--and certainly not an absolute--morality. Moralities are what we construct in response to these drives, being the culture builders we are. The basis of their construction is not logic but human feeling. These constructed moralities usually contain self-contradicting elements and are therefore self-evidently not absolute.

Ethical theories are attempts to create a self-consistent yet rational framework to help us decide between right and wrong actions. The hope is that because the framework is rational and consistent it is also effective in helping us formulate right ethical judgements under all conditions. Thus, provisionally at least, an absolute ethics must be considered not just possible but attainable. However, its principles must still be based on the samel innate moral (or proto-moral) impulses. This is difficult because the impulses sometimes run contrary to each other--family vs. community, for example: should I give my criminal son up to the law though I know he will suffer ten years in gaol if I do? What if he is to be executed? It is precisely such difficulties, however, that ethical theories hope to solve, so it is no surprise that there is still a great deal of room for argument.


I'm not certain that this position is a reconciliation with my underlying belief that equal rights are correct, or if it's merely an acknowledgement that arguments against it are ineffective.

To reach an ethical judgement, we merely test the belief that equal rights are correct by logically applying the set of ethical principles we have derived. To hold that something is wrong even though reason and logic, based on principles of compassion indicate that it is right, is to affirm that conscience trumps logic when making an ethical decision. An interesting question--what do you feel is the answer? Must an absolute morality be non-rational?


Child abandonment (and killing,) are ultimately selfish actions of isolated individuals...

All actions are the actions of individuals.


...and are universally decried and mourned by the rest of society, so we, at least, view these actions as indefensible, based on that underlying "right and wrong."

No, this is too easy. Telling lies is also universally decried, yet everybody does it. The fact is, the natural impulses that drive us don't always work in harmony. I already gave one example--giving up a son to the police--in which the parental instinct is placed in opposition to the instinct of cooperation within the social group. Infanticide is often a case of such conflicting moral impulses--killing a bastard child to preserve the honour of the family is a very, very old story. Humans have very, very strong parental instincts--perhaps the strongest in the animal kingdom--yet there are times when other instincts, such as obedience to those higher in the social hierarchy, or concern for parents and siblings--can overcome it. Not many infanticides, I imagine, are spared the lash of conscience; but those who choose the life of their child over the good name of the family or community must feel it also.



posted on Sep, 10 2010 @ 10:39 AM
link   

Originally posted by Starbug3MY
I believe that Absolute Truth is Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, that absolute morality exists, that it is written in every heart that they know what is right and what is wrong, no matter how much they justify it or excuse it, or deny it for themselves.

Moral Relativity gives people the excuse that "What is right for you, morally, may not be right for me, morally".

Moral Relativity and secular humanism are what is destroying our civilization.


Starred you on this one. Too many people lie to themselves to justify their behaviour.



posted on Sep, 10 2010 @ 10:47 AM
link   
Haha, well..
To answer question one, absolutely not. The confusion and damage inflicted on the molested lasts till they die.
I think even putting kids into the social melting pot known as school is even too much, first thing they ask you is what do you want to be, instead of figuring out who you actually are.
Second answer, yes.
Third answer, yes. Look how every scenario in recorded history has repeated.
As for absolute morality, it can't exist, not because of opinions, but a humans make up its self. Lacking empathy may cause the human to not see even that farting in public is even slightly immoral


 
Posted Via ATS Mobile: m.abovetopsecret.com
 



posted on Sep, 10 2010 @ 11:20 AM
link   

Originally posted by Astyanax
To hold that something is wrong even though reason and logic, based on principles of compassion indicate that it is right, is to affirm that conscience trumps logic when making an ethical decision. An interesting question--what do you feel is the answer? Must an absolute morality be non-rational?


Must it? No, but I can definitely see that it can be. There are definitely things that one can take a stand on which are defensible from a reasoned perspective, but I'm sure that most people's arguments for their positions would be more a matter of "that's just the way I feel" than a thought out rationale, and if you tried to pin them down, the stand would be somewhat weak, because they're okay with "that's just the way I feel." Do you think an absolute moral position need be non-rational?



posted on Sep, 10 2010 @ 12:18 PM
link   
www.allaboutphilosophy.org...


Absolute Truth - Inflexible Reality
"Absolute truth" is defined as inflexible reality: fixed, invariable, unalterable facts. For example, it is a fixed, invariable, unalterable fact that there are absolutely no square circles and there are absolutely no round squares.

Absolute Truth vs. Relativism
While absolute truth is a logical necessity, there are some religious orientations (atheistic humanists, for example) who argue against the existence of absolute truth. Humanism's exclusion of God necessitates moral relativism. Humanist John Dewey (1859-1952), co-author and signer of the Humanist Manifesto 1 (1933), declared, "There is no God and there is no soul. Hence, there are no needs for the props of traditional religion. With dogma and creed excluded, then immutable truth is also dead and buried. There is no room for fixed, natural law or moral absolutes." Humanists believe one should do, as one feels is right.

Absolute Truth - A Logical Necessity
You can't logically argue against the existence of absolute truth. To argue against something is to establish that a truth exists. You cannot argue against absolute truth unless an absolute truth is the basis of your argument. Consider a few of the classic arguments and declarations made by those who seek to argue against the existence of absolute truth…

"There are no absolutes." First of all, the relativist is declaring there are absolutely no absolutes. That is an absolute statement. The statement is logically contradictory. If the statement is true, there is, in fact, an absolute - there are absolutely no absolutes.

"Truth is relative." Again, this is an absolute statement implying truth is absolutely relative. Besides positing an absolute, suppose the statement was true and "truth is relative." Everything including that statement would be relative. If a statement is relative, it is not always true. If "truth is relative" is not always true, sometimes truth is not relative. This means there are absolutes, which means the above statement is false. When you follow the logic, relativist arguments will always contradict themselves.

"Who knows what the truth is, right?" In the same sentence the speaker declares that no one knows what the truth is, then he turns around and asks those who are listening to affirm the truth of his statement.

"No one knows what the truth is." The speaker obviously believes his statement is true.

There are philosophers who actually spend countless hours toiling over thick volumes written on the "meaninglessness" of everything. We can assume they think the text is meaningful! Then there are those philosophy teachers who teach their students, "No one's opinion is superior to anyone else's. There is no hierarchy of truth or values. Anyone's viewpoint is just as valid as anyone else's viewpoint. We all have our own truth." Then they turn around and grade the papers!



posted on Sep, 10 2010 @ 01:16 PM
link   
reply to post by 547000
 




But the definition is that it increases without bound. The only thing they have in common is same notation, but they mean different things. Don't confuse notation used with the actual concepts implied. Notation can mean anything it is defined to.

that's what i'm talking about: Inf has no a M.D.(math description) w\o logical collisions & Math has used just local definitions of Inf in the own different branches. actually, humans don't use/make/do something really Infinite & local Infinity's definitions are only required to remove misty moments from being theories. however, fact is fact: Logic cannot comprehend Mother - Universe.



posted on Sep, 10 2010 @ 04:38 PM
link   
reply to post by Astyanax
 


eliminate the opinions and, quite frankly, 50,000 years of human generated bullsh*t. It's as simple as that. Please do not take any offense, but the only objective way to look at something so very subjective is to erase the last 50,000 years of bullsh*t that humanity has generated to view the world.

Noe lets get back to basics. Why does man deserve a right to live? Because Life is preferable to death for most sane human beings. Sure it seems democratic, but to tell you the truth, I don't honestly give a crap about the philosophical crap behind it. I want to live. Most people want to live. I don't give a good damn about the other point of view. It's an established truth. Life is preferable to death.

Now that that is down, expand. What defines human and what defines alive. Well thanks to our ancestors human is pretty obvious. See they exterminated all the questionable middle grounds between human and the some half dozen other humanoid species of the time. So humanity is defined by basically upright apes with the capacity to think exponentially and abstractly. We have many mutations and fall backs from that hierarchy. But the fact remains that they came from us, and so subject to the same rights. That is what defines a human being.

Now what defines life? I am alive. I can state that. I don't care about this silly "what about what you do not observe" or whatever. I'm alive. There are others alive. People who are alive is pretty obvious. This is kind of a none issue. Oh but what about brain dead people? Dependant people? blah blah blah? Ok. Technology allowed them to stay alive. Now they are alive. So they have a right to be alive. We can expand that to subjects to abortion, and from a purely scientific matter it is murder, but we can't have a perfect world I suppose. And savages will be savages. One must simple accept the savage and prove them wrong, hoping they stop being savages. The fact remains that being alive is pretty obvious. And to argue the brain is key is also ballocks. Because one brain cell in a fetus is no better than a brain cell in a chicken. A human is not capable of human levels of thought until well after birth, and even then not capable of the maximum until something like 28-30. So rather than pick an arbitrary line randomly and say everything after there is human and everything before is not, I;m just going to flat out make it scientific. If it got 46 chromosomes and can develop, it's human and has a right to life. Maybe aliens are different. But we have no aliens to see to speak of. So until we do, I don't honestly care. Obviously if they're making tools and doing stuff they have a right to life as well. As we should not be genocidal.

Now what rights do we have? Sums it up in the right to one's vector and path for that vector. By that I mean one has a right to one's path in life and to have that path free of any attempts to block it. IE, your vector is yours and nobody but you has the right to block it. if you try to block another, you have to deal with the law and your vector will be blocked as a result. That sums up all rights. Why? Because I want to. I don't care about the philosophy behind it. I want it, so we all have a right to it.


Now I don't honestly care about people who line up to have their vectors blocked and modified. They're retards. I don't deal with retards. I deal with the rights of man. Retards can go do retarded things. It's not my nation and not my problem.

there you go. A simple bro-way to life.



posted on Sep, 10 2010 @ 06:14 PM
link   
reply to post by Gorman91
 




Now what rights do we have? Sums it up in the right to one's vector and path for that vector. By that I mean one has a right to one's path in life and to have that path free of any attempts to block it. IE, your vector is yours and nobody but you has the right to block it. if you try to block another, you have to deal with the law and your vector will be blocked as a result. That sums up all rights. Why? Because I want to. I don't care about the philosophy behind it. I want it, so we all have a right to it.

your point got serious lack: humans live in the World of restricted resources -- parallel pathways are desirable despairful much, but ain't completely possible. humans have two ways, no more: 1) ruefully to finish each other for last remnants; 2) make collaboration to overcome hard Time.



posted on Sep, 11 2010 @ 12:19 AM
link   
reply to post by SarK0Y
 


I think your English is a bit off, but basically from what I understand, you could solve the problem with space industry. Which, when those resources became limited, it would become more profitable to mine is space versus on Earth.



posted on Sep, 11 2010 @ 12:20 AM
link   
reply to post by adjensen
 


Do you think an absolute moral position need be non-rational?

I think it desperately needs to be rational. Otherwise anything goes--precisely the state of things religious folk often accuse secular humanists of promoting. Besides, you can't have a transparent ethics without rationality, even if you can't use pure reason to construct one from first principles.

Irrational moral constructs lie behind all wrong actions (or wicked deeds if you prefer, as I sometimes do).

*


reply to post by slugger9787
 

You are quoting libels against humanism and naturalism from a website dedicated to Christian apologetics. Hardly a trustworthy source of judgements and opinions on the subject.

*


reply to post by Gorman91
 


Why does man deserve a right to live? Because Life is preferable to death for most sane human beings.

It certainly is. But that only argues, rationally, for preserving my own life. Why should I care about what another human being prefers? He prefers to live, I prefer to bash his head in and steal his cattle. How is my preference not rational?

*


reply to post by SarK0Y
 


...ruefully to finish each other for last remnants

There's that, too. Well put.



posted on Sep, 11 2010 @ 12:39 AM
link   

Originally posted by Astyanax
reply to post by adjensen
 


Do you think an absolute moral position need be non-rational?

I think it desperately needs to be rational. Otherwise anything goes--precisely the state of things religious folk often accuse secular humanists of promoting. Besides, you can't have a transparent ethics without rationality, even if you can't use pure reason to construct one from first principles.

Irrational moral constructs lie behind all wrong actions (or wicked deeds if you prefer, as I sometimes do).


Do you then invalidate views which are more in the form of the "it just seems wrong to me" approach? If something isn't rational (or at least defensible,) is it an invalid belief? I ask because I suspect that the vast majority of people, and the vast majority of their absolutes, would be firmly housed within that unreasonable basis (which is not to say that it's wrong, just that it's based on something other than a reasoned position.)

For the record, I agree with your statement that irrational constructs lie behind wrong actions, though I'm probably a little more liberal in my application of that to certain actions that you are :-)



posted on Sep, 11 2010 @ 12:40 AM
link   
Having read through this thread I'm surprised no one has made direct reference to the philosophical construct of Moral Absolutism and conversely Moral Subjectivism ... the fact that there are dual and relative constructs in play is the first clue as to which one is applicable.

I remember a while back getting into an interesting debate on the periphery of this subject. I mention this because how each society assign the 'deviant' or 'virtuous' label onto a person's behavior is purely based upon subjective criteria based on that culture's moral caprice. To quote from that argument:

Let's imagine an ordinary eighteen year old girl. Let's call her Maria.
Now let's imagine that Maria was born and raised under three different scenarios:

Life 1: She is born and raised in Thailand, under relative poverty, and is now a prostitute in Bangkok. The law in Thailand is clear, if you register with the state and take monthly std tests, it is legal to work as a prostitute. Not only that but the profession does not even carry much stigma. It is definitely considered neither illegal nor deviant. It is simply within the norm of their society. source

Life 2: She is born and raised in the US under the same circumstances. But as prostitution is illegal, she spends her time in and out of jail. She is considered by society as low level criminal and some people might label her deviant.

Life 3: She is born in Saudi Arabia. You can see where this is going. Let's assume that a sequence of events leads her to one night take money from a man for sex and the man rats her out. Imagine the way that society would judge and punish her. Their custom is to to jail victims of gang rapes. source

So what do we have. The girl (subject) is the same in all three cases, that is to say that her genes are are the same no matter which country she happened to born into. The only difference between the three lives are the societies which is to say the "observers" in which she was born. And in each case, the individually and collectively assign criminality and deviance onto her, the only constant "subject" in all three lives.


Thus the behavior itself, although fundamentally neutral in nature, is clearly a matter of subjective interpretation.

However ...

Even if one strips themselves of mental constructs such as 'morality' one is still empathic to suffering. Meaning that even before the mind interprets what it has observed, it can be said that one has a natural instinct for suffering, joy, and every other human sentiment.

Nothing problematic with conceding that we may as humans share natural and common sensitivities as to what generates suffering ... it only becomes a problem when folks start assigning moral codes, build churches, and kill those who don't agree with theirs.



posted on Sep, 11 2010 @ 12:47 AM
link   
reply to post by schrodingers dog
 


This speaks, quite correctly, to the moral ambiguity of different social situations, but represents the societal view of Maria. I'm more interested in Maria's view of herself, as we've already determined that societies are seemingly incapable of determining an absolute morality, though people are able to do so, and I suspect that Maria's view of herself would be different in each of these cultures, though never in accordance with the judgement that the society places on her.



edit on 11-9-2010 by adjensen because: misspelling (that didn't seem to stick after my fix, lol)



posted on Sep, 11 2010 @ 12:52 AM
link   
reply to post by adjensen
 


For better or for worst, most folks self esteem is inextricably linked to the conditioning they are subjected to from the society in which they were raised ... as such their moral view of themselves will in most cases reflect that of their societies'.

The cost of extracting one's self from this conditioning, as many know, is a heavy one. For being free of that self imposed imprisonment, whilst liberating on a personal level, is a constant reminder an affront to those who enable their own bondage. They do not like it, and they will retaliate.



posted on Sep, 11 2010 @ 01:48 AM
link   
reply to post by adjensen
 


yes.

baby likey cuddle and suckle.
baby no likey pinch.

within each of us, we have a nervous system.
this nervous system responds to pain and pleasure.

we all like pleasure
and most of us don't like extreme pain.

we can agree that we don't enjoy psychological suffering. (some imbalanced and damaged people may enjoy it as a form of reliving past trauma in a subconcious effort to heal by recreating the initial trauma and somehow be in control of it's outcome) ...

but generally.. psychological and physical suffering is not something we enjoy... across the board.

and we all enjoy sensations that feel pleasurable.. and we all enjoy psychological conditions that are pleasurable.. ie: love, feeling part of a group, being proud of our work.. etc..

this is a basic law bound into our very nature as human beings.

when things are done to us, or many of us, that directly cause suffering, we call that EVIL.
when things are done to us, or many of us, that directly causes relief of suffering, or pleasure.. we call that GOOD.

the moral code is the golden rule...
do unto others as you would want done to you...

and that would be to bring pleasure and relief from suffering to others ...
because we all want pleasure and relief from suffering done to us.

end of story.

why is this up for debate?



posted on Sep, 11 2010 @ 10:16 AM
link   

Originally posted by prevenge
when things are done to us, or many of us, that directly cause suffering, we call that EVIL.
when things are done to us, or many of us, that directly causes relief of suffering, or pleasure.. we call that GOOD.

the moral code is the golden rule...
do unto others as you would want done to you...

and that would be to bring pleasure and relief from suffering to others ...
because we all want pleasure and relief from suffering done to us.

end of story.

why is this up for debate?


Because, as you would find if you read through the whole of the thread, this doesn't happen, and to state that something that causes us to suffer is evil, and that which doesn't is good is a somewhat shallow view of good and evil. Suffering pain isn't always evil, and relief from pain or feeling pleasure isn't always good. So this cannot be the whole of the absolute.

Your evils and mine are most likely different (though the majority would be shared) and yet we live in the same society which has its own set of values, derived from whoever happened to put them in place. "Do unto others" is a wonderful motif, but neither society, nor you, nor I practices it all the time, no matter how hard we might try (and, in my case, I'm failing a very specific instruction in my faith,) and I suspect that, at least in our current state, it's quite possibly impossible. Complete equality likely cannot exist in a world with finite resources.

I'm interested in exploring these absolutes that we hold, how they impact how we view ourselves, others, and society, and how we deal with our absolutes in the face of a culture that often conflicts with us and, maddeningly at times, shifts the rules for reasons that are often irrational.

The source of our absolutes, or our view of good and evil, isn't really of interest to me, not only because it is divisive, but because it doesn't really matter at this point -- whether perceptions of good/evil comes from God, your genetics, or a virus we all get in the womb, the fact that we have them and seem to have been born with them is the reality that the discussion is based on.



posted on Sep, 11 2010 @ 10:24 AM
link   

Originally posted by schrodingers dog
The cost of extracting one's self from this conditioning, as many know, is a heavy one. For being free of that self imposed imprisonment, whilst liberating on a personal level, is a constant reminder an affront to those who enable their own bondage. They do not like it, and they will retaliate.


Well, that's kind if it, isn't it? If one doesn't wish to hold to the same perspective as society, one pays a price for it. When I was younger, I was pretty adamant about holding a position of "I don't really care what people think of me," believing that I was who I was and it didn't matter whether people liked that or not. Noble, but pretty stupid when carried to an extreme, as I learned :-)

I'm still not motivated by the opinions of others (generally) but I recognize that fitting in has its benefits and intentionally isolating yourself by alienating others has its drawbacks. I've become more pragmatic as I've aged, taken on responsibilities and changed my goals and expectations, and I suspect that's fairly common for most teenage rebels, regardless of what they happen to be rebelling against.



new topics

top topics



 
17
<< 3  4  5    7  8  9 >>

log in

join